The Governance of the City University of New York: A System at Odds with Itself
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Institutions can help by designing more student-friendly class schedules. For example, they might design schedules in morning or afternoon blocks—for instance, from 9: For students with obligations off-campus, these blocks can be easier to manage than a schedule of or minute courses punctuated by hours of free time. Schedule blocks also help students form learning communities and working groups, offering vital student- to-student support and a strong sense of connectedness to faculty and institutions.
Students enrolled in the program take a single course at a time, meeting for a three- or four-hour block for 18 days. Once students complete the course, they move on to the next four-credit block, enabling them to earn the same amount of credit as they would under a traditional multi-class system. Structured scheduling can be even more beneficial when applied to entire programs. Once students choose their programs, college officials can decide on the required sequence of courses and then block those courses in coherent, connected schedules.
When institutions deliver services such as advising, counseling, and financial aid only through face-to-face meetings during normal business hours, students who have jobs, families, and other off-campus responsibilities are less apt to take advantage of them. To broaden access to services, colleges and universities are adopting a growing number of digitally enabled student services, in addition to traditional in-person services offered on campus.
Johns Hopkins University, for instance, offers Skype-based advising sessions. While most institutions deliver basic digital services such as course registration, library resources, and financial aid information, colleges and universities should consider an integrated approach to digitizing these services, and they should add more complex services, such as intrusive advising.
As part of their strategies to harness technology for student advising, institutions should not forget about mobile computing, the ubiquitous communications platform of the current generation. A one-stop mobile app offers a crucial channel for accessing campus services and communicating with advisors, mentors, and counselors. Students can use this app to plan their schedules; manage their study time; keep track of assignments; form study groups; get information about campus events, clubs, and services; organize activities; communicate with individuals and groups; and a great deal more.
As first-year students started using the app in large numbers, it helped them find roommates, connect with on-campus activities, and obtain help from upperclassmen, all of which helped ease the transition to university life. Many individuals and organizations—on- and off-campus—can help students along the path to success. A college that forges relationships with outside entities offers its students an edge in their academic careers and beyond.
An institution might, for example, partner with high schools to help prepare students for college. It could collaborate with peer institutions to share leading practices, or to implement strategies cost-effectively. Support from a variety of stakeholders, coordinated by an institution of higher learning, can help put students in a better position to succeed. Many students enter college unprepared. While 87 percent of high school students surveyed by YouthTruth said they wanted to go to college, only 45 percent felt ready to succeed there.
They may even lack the emotional stamina that college life demands. Partnerships between colleges and high schools can help ease the transition to higher education. To help improve the odds for incoming students, the AHC program worked with students who were on-track to graduate from New York City public high schools but had not met traditional benchmarks of college readiness, such as adequate SAT scores. The program focused on preparing students for the CUNY placement exam and college-level work; helping them with college and financial-aid applications; getting them ready for college life; and assigning each student a faculty mentor, a full-time advisor, and a peer mentor who kept track of her progress during the first year of college.
Students who participated in AHC scored 10 to 20 percentage points higher on the CUNY placement exam than students who were not in the program. The University of Montana partners with high schools across Montana to help students better prepare for college-level math coursework. Research by Complete College America found that 71 percent of students in the Montana State University system do not make it through gateway-level college math classes within two years—a major deterrent to persistence. These findings spurred the university to find a better way to prepare students for college-level math.
To date, EdReady has been implemented in more than schools across Montana. Early results from a pilot found that students who used EdReady before their college math classes, compared with those who did not, earned a. Another kind of partnership allows students to earn college credits while still in high school.
Early college high schools are small public schools that offer college courses, starting in ninth grade. They are based on the theory that if you engage underrepresented students in a rigorous curriculum, with strong academic and social support, tied to the incentive of earning college credit, those students are more likely to pursue higher education. These collaborative efforts have proven extremely successful.
A study by the American Institutes for Research shows that students who attend early college high school were significantly more likely to enroll in college; 25 percent of them went on to graduate, compared to just 5 percent of students who did not attend early college high schools. While the academic program is the foundation for the El Paso success, the wraparound services available from ninth grade through college graduation really make the difference. From eighth grade on, each student in the program works with an advisor to chart an appropriate academic path.
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The El Paso example shows how institutions can collaborate to create a streamlined experience from high school through college and graduation. While implementing strategies on their own campuses, colleges and universities can also share leading practices with peer institutions. The 11 member universities of the UIA work together to identify and pilot innovative programs designed to improve student success.
The alliance has pledged to scale successful programs across member campuses to graduate an additional 68, students by Other UIA members are using the lessons learned from these efforts to guide the development of their own initiatives to apply predictive analytics capabilities to aid with student success at their respective institutions. When it comes to improving student success, few institutions have achieved significant gains. This is due to the inherent obstacles to change that colleges and universities typically face—from distributed decision-making systems and multiple power and authority structures to misaligned goals.
To help drive widespread student success, an institution should marshal all its resources, gain commitment from faculty and others who work with students, embrace innovation, ground decisions in solid evidence, create incentives resulting from change for all stakeholders, and stay relentless about measurement and evaluation.
And to be able to achieve this kind of fundamental change, strong leadership must champion the effort. Georgia State University offers a prime example of what is possible when the foundational capacities of leadership and strategy, measurement and evaluation, and transformational readiness all come together.
A nationally recognized leader in student success, GSU achieved one of the most dramatic graduation rate increases in the country while working to eliminate the graduation rate gap among low-income and underrepresented students. The leaders also maintained a long-term perspective, understanding that successes would accumulate over time. For instance, when the student success team proposed the Summer Success Academy, allowing the most at-risk incoming students to earn seven credit hours and receive academic advising and financial literacy training before their first semester, President Mark Becker might have balked.
Support from the top also helped to remove an array of obstacles to student success that were related to university infrastructure. A careful analysis of university data drawn from multiple sources revealed that when students faced problems involving academic policy, financial aid, billing, student choices, and other functions on campus, they almost never could resolve those issues by working with one university office alone.
Seemingly separate problems were actually interconnected in complex ways. The managers of these functions hold weekly meetings, which help reveal new obstacles that students may face and provide a better structure for dealing with those issues. This strategy started with a focused effort to maintain the quality of the data that drove decisions. When GSU launched its student success programs, administrators already had a wealth of transactional student data upon which to draw. But to help make that data useful, they needed to move it from numerous stand-alone systems into a well-designed data warehouse.
They also needed to make sure that the Institutional Research Team and the offices responsible for the transactional data kept the warehouse up to date. With the infrastructure in place, not only could GSU uncover the greatest obstacles to student success, and launch programs to address them, it could also continually test new approaches.
When a likely solution emerged from a small-scale pilot, GSU quickly ramped it up to test how well it worked on a broader scale. By applying this method to simple problems, GSU made some significant gains in student outcomes. Those early wins encouraged administration and faculty to apply the same methodology to tougher, more complex issues.
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In one experiment, in , the university gave small grants to approximately students who had been dropped from classes for nonpayment. These students had good grades, owed just a small amount of money, and were close to graduation. The grants kept most of the students from dropping out, resulting in higher graduation rates in the long term.
In another experiment, GSU addressed challenges caused by its new, more expensive apartment-style residence halls which, because they feature kitchens rather than dining halls, do not promote as strong a sense of community. In , it opened Freshman Hall, a newer residence hall based on an older model, with small double rooms, shared bathrooms, and a dining hall. A spot in Freshman Hall, including a meal plan, costs considerably less than a spot in the apartment-style residence.
The new residence always fills up fast.
But instead of trying to enhance its stature by accepting more of those applicants, GSU has continued to pursue students who show promise but face academic and financial challenges. Most of the new students come from the underserved communities that GSU has committed to helping, and most face the kinds of academic challenges that GSU has been working to address over the past decade. Besides rallying the community around this cause, GSU has taken a realistic approach toward funding.
Recognizing that recent cuts to public funding are unlikely to be restored, GSU has instead used its own limited budget to produce the most effective outcomes it can.
Relying on student data to determine which investments may produce the greatest payoffs, and using well-targeted experiments to test those hypotheses, GSU has produced a transformation that it can sustain well into the future. Colleges and universities face growing pressure from state legislatures, the federal government, and the broader public, including students themselves, to become more accountable for improving retention and graduation rates, among other measures. At the same time, changes in student demographics are making the challenge of improving student success outcomes even greater.
Institutions should respond with student-centered strategies that holistically address critical parts of the student experience that are linked to student success. Meaningful progress on student success will not happen overnight. Institutions should foster the culture, skill sets, and infrastructure necessary to support a student-focused environment. As the magnitude of the challenge grows, institutions that start down this path sooner, rather than later, are most likely to see significant results.
Battles for management between CUNYs stakeholders became more and more rancorous. CUNY faculties frequently act mor like autonomous associations than like complementary individuals of a process. A Case Study of Contingencies Venture stick to via, initially conceived in as a social motion software to increase Head begin into the first grades, grew to become an academic test aimed toward discovering potent tools for instructing deprived youngsters. National Special historian and coverage analyst Maris Vinovskis examines federal K—12 schooling regulations, starting with the ebook of A state in danger and concentrating on the nationwide schooling targets, the United States , pursuits , and No baby Left Behind.
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